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"Race to the Tower" (8x03) is the third episode of the eighth chapter of Critical Role. All hell breaks loose as Vox Machina race to stop the return of Vecna!

Synopsis Edit

While the cultists' ritual nears completion atop the Tower of Entropis, Vox Machina make their way through the streets of the city below. They soon find that they are too late to stop Vecna's return and the transport of Thar Amphala entirely out of the Shadowfell and into the Prime Material Plane. They leap into battle with Vecna and two of his lackeys, including Delilah Briarwood, but find themselves badly outmatched. Vax'ildan is killed in the scuffle, his body disintegrated, before Keyleth is able to planeshift them to safety.

Announcements Edit

  • Merch update: David Mack posters, both signed and unsigned, are in the store for a limited time.
  • Tal'Dorei campaign guide will be available for pre-order in mid July; check the Green Ronin website for more info.
  • Wednesday Club will be celebrating Pride Month and may have a special guest.
  • Talks Machina is every Tuesday at 7 PM Pacific Time, on Twitch and Alpha.
  • A few characters have now reached level 18.
  • Ashley is able to make it due to a time jump in Blindspot.

Previously on Critical Role Edit

"Vox Machina had discovered the existence of a second Ziggurat-like structure on the continent of Marquet, and apparently a cult of the Whispered One there gathering magical artifacts to toss into a second darkened black orb, similar to the one beneath Whitestone all this time.

"They ran into Scanlan once more, who led them to where this cavern was found in the mountains of Smolder Crown, on the continent of Marquet. They did battle with the cultists there, and seemed to reveal one of the leaders in that group was none other than the not-dead Delilah Briarwood.

"She fended them off, completed the ritual, and some of the surviving cultists fled into the orb, apparently, to the other side. Vox Machina then gathered themselves, gathered some supplies, some information, and proceeded to travel through the orb in Whitestone, into the Shadowfell—the shadow plane, dark mirror to the Prime Material—where they stumbled upon a partially-ruined city that had undergone some sort of ancient siege, and much of it still lies in ruins and disrepair.

"They discovered what seemed to be two other siphon orbs existing around the outskirts of this forgotten city, threads of magical energy being siphoned and transferred to a singular black obsidian tower for whatever purpose the Whispered One, the Undying King, has for this energy.

"Vox Machina began to make their way deeper into the city, masquerading as some undead in the process. They killed a few cultists wandering the street and intimidated one—actually, they killed him and asked his corpse, the most extreme form of intimidation, really—discovering that this city is under the title Thar Amphala, which they don't know too much about, except it seems to be where an ancient battle took place. Much of the undead that wander this realm carry armaments, weapons, and symbols that seem to be of Pelor, the Dawnfather. They also discovered that the tower in the center is titled Entropis, where all the magic is being funneled at the moment.

"Thus having found this information, they gathered their resolve and continued their trek deeper and deeper into the city surrounding the tower Entropis, to discover what their purpose is here in Thar Amphala."[1]

Part I Edit

The group, still under the influence of Scanlan’s Seeming spell to disguise them as undead, start to make their way through Thar Amphala toward the tower at its center. Percy, in the lead, carries a censer that was stolen from a previously encountered group of cultists.

As they move through the city, the group encounters clusters of undead from two factions: one wearing symbols of Pelor, the Dawn Father, while the other faction seems to be associated with Vecna. Vax, looking more closely at a group of skeletons as they pass, determines they must be at least 500 years old. The clusters start coalescing into a group that trails around Vox Machina, but are momentarily held at bay by the smoke from Percy’s censer.

When Grog, Vax, Vex, and Keyleth notice a pair of gloomstalkers circling in the sky above, the group decides to dodge into a nearby building. They hear one of the gloomstalkers land on the roof, and Scanlan creates an illusion of a lost girl to draw it away. The distraction only goes so far, however, as it becomes evident that the gloomstalker can see through illusions. The group stays quiet, until eventually the creature gives up and leaves, and they are able to dash through a series of back alleys until encountering a wall.

On the wall, Keyleth finds a small door and, above the door, a huge cerulean gemstone, reminiscent of the stones used by Syngorn to transport to the Feywild and back. She makes a hole in the base of the wall for them to pass through, but as they are hurrying through they are spotted by a circling gloomstalker. Keyleth, the last to go through, gets caught and pulled back by the creature.

Scanlan, who was in front of Keyleth, quickly casts Dominate Monster and succeeds in taming the gloomstalker. With it now under his control, he names it Mr. Mistoffelees and orders it to call off the hunt.

Ducking into the closest building on the other side of the wall, they encounter and subdue a man missing his left eye. Grog conducts an interrogation of the man, asking about the ritual at the tower. Very little information is gleaned before Grog crushes the man’s head.

Scanlan and Vax climb on board Mr. Mistoffelees to conduct a scouting pass while everyone else settles in for a short rest.

Break Edit

Part II Edit

On their scouting run, Scanlan and Vax approach the Tower of Entropis and spot a group of 30 or so figures gathered on top of it. As they watch, a stage of the ritual reaches completion: There is a huge burst of energy from the tower, the tethers from the three siphons fade, and all but three of the people visible on the tower fall dead. A tiny, bright white speck of light is left at the center of the tower.

The two head back to report the others, who are just completing their short rest. Scanlan orders Mr. Mistoffelees to fly away before his control spell ends. The group, seeing that the only people left on the streets are living cultists headed for the tower, disguise themselves using cloaks they’ve plundered on their trek through the city.

As they are walking, they notice a shift in the city; the sky changes overhead and snow starts falling. The entire city of Thar Amphala has been teleported. Judging by the weather, they have arrived somewhere in Wildemount, or perhaps another distant northern country.

As Vox Machina comes within range of the base of the tower, they are addressed by an omnipresent, directionless voice. This is the voice of Vecna, advising them to give up and join his army; they unanimously ignore it. Keyleth and Pike huddle together and hit the base of Entropis with a double Earthquake spell. They watch the tower topple, crushing some of the cultists gathered around its base, but the very apex of the tower does not fall and remains levitating far above them.

Via broom, flying carpet, wings, and polymorph, the group makes their way up to the floating apex of the tower. At the top, they engage in combat with the three figures spotted earlier: a death knight, Delilah Briarwood, and the newly reborn Undying King, Vecna. The fight goes badly; several of them are immediately paralyzed; Vex is felled by Power Word Kill; Grog gets banished back to the Shadowfell; and Vax gets Disintegrated. Percy gets a killing shot on Delilah, but little damage is done to either Vecna or the death knight.

As the fight goes south, Pike revivifies Vex. Scanlan gathers up Vax’s equipment and a bit of the ash from his body. The banishment spell on Grog gets broken, returning him to the fight. Keyleth brings everyone together to hold hands and casts Planeshift in an attempt to get them out. Vecna tries to Counterspell her, but is countered in turn by Scanlan, who had anticipated such a move. They escape to the Feywild.

The episode ends with Vex, who did not see her brother fall, asking, “Where’s Vax?”

Featured Characters Edit

Vox Machina Edit

New Edit

Returning Edit

Mentioned Edit

Inventory Edit

Quotations Edit

Trivia Edit

  • This episode marks the third time that Vex'ahlia has died and the second time that Vax'ildan has died.
    • These are the eleventh and twelfth on-stream player character deaths, and the thirteenth and fourteenth overall.
  • This is the second time that the Plate of the Dawnmartyr has saved Pike from a Disintegrate spell. The first time this happened was in "The Deceiver's Stand" (6x14).

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. The recap. See "Race to the Tower" (8x03) from 0:05:49 through 0:08:33.

Art:


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